Wheeling Daily Register
March 1, 1888
The Business Before it Concluded in One Day.
A Splendid Work, Well Done.
The Business Men of the State, Without Party Distinction, Range Themselves in Line in Favor of Development and Progress.
A Number of Splendid Speeches.
An Address of Welcome by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, and Eloquent Orations by Hon. S. B. Elkins, Senator Davis, Governor Wilson, Secretary of State Walker, and Others.
Permanent Organization Formed
Under the Name of the Immigration and Development Association of West Virginia, and Nearly Three Thousand Dollars Subscribed to Defray the Expenses of the Body, or Until the Legislature Can Act.
Resolutions Passed by the Body.
They Provide for a Permanent Exhibition at the State Fair Grounds, on the Island, and Also for the Co-operation of the Society With the Governor Regarding a Display at the Cincinnati Exhibition.
Full Report of the Proceedings.
The first session of the West Virginia Immigration Convention has passed into history. In every respect it was a success ? a success in point of attendance, in point of enthusiasm, in point of actual results; and there is every reason to expect that great good to the State will follow its deliberations. There has been no such notable gathering in West Virginia in a quarter of a century, and none more important to the people - certainly there has been no assemblage of which more was expected, nor one having a greater opportunity to benefit the people. That the delegates did well, will be conceded. That the results will be valuable, there is no doubt.
Below will be found the full report of the proceedings:
The Building Quickly Crowded - Distinguished Men Present.
The doors of the Opera House, which building had been set apart for the purposes of the Convention, were opened to the public soon after noon, and long before one o'clock several hundred delegates were present, eager and anxious to begin the business to be brought forward during the session. As the hour set for the formal inauguration of the great representative body approached, the crowd grew in size, and at a quarter past one there were not less than one thousand of the best men of the city and State within the edifice. The Opera House band was in attendance, and discoursed several airs upon the sidewalk and from the gallery.
The interior of the building had been simply, but effectively decorated with flags, while the entire state was covered with a fine collection of rare potted plants and flowers, brought from the conservatories of Wheeling Park to grace the occasion. The effect of this superb decoration was very fine, and provoked much favorable comment from the visiting strangers.
Upon the state there were gathered, when the convention opened, quite a large number of distinguished gentlemen from abroad, together with many prominent residents of the city. Among those so present were, Senator John E. Kenna, Ex-Senator J. N. Camden, Ex-Senator Henry G. Davis, Ex-Gov. Pierpont, Governor E. W. Wilson, Hon B. L. Butcher, Hon. Stephen B. Elkins, Secretary of State H. S. Walker, Hon. B. F. Martin, Hon Randolph Stalnaker, W. A. M[a]cCorkle, of Charleston, Postmaster Robert Simpson, Mayor C. W. Seabright, president of Council R. M. Gilleland, present of the Chamber of Commerce T. H. Logan, Surveyor A. C. Egerter, Capt. John McLure, Col. A. J. Sweeney, C. B. Hart, M. Reilly, Hon. A. W. Campbell, Rev. Dr. W. H. Cooke, Col. Thomas O'Brien, Henry Baer and others. There were many additions to the above gentlemen during the afternoon.
The Proceedings Inaugurated at Half Past One.
At Half past one o'clock Mr. C. B. Hart, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Committee, came to the front of the stage and said:
Fellow Citizens: - On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of Wheeling, which invited, and which is pleased to welcome, and which will welcome you more fully presently through its President, Dr. T. H. Logan, I call this convention to order, and name, as temporary Chairman, Hon. W. A. M[a]cCorkle, of the county of Kanaw[h]a. Can I hear a second to the motion?
The suggestion of Mr. Hart was enthusiastically approved, and [unreadable] said:
The convention will now be formally opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. Cooke, of the Second Presbyterian Church.
In the course of his invocation the reverend gentleman referred to the great importance of the assemblage, and asked the divine aid and blessing upon the labors of the body, and prayed that the convention might know what to do and see the best and most effective method of doing it.
At the conclusion of the prayer by Dr. Cooke, the Temporary President came to the front of the stage, and was received with applause. He said:
My Fellow Countrymen: - I thank you for the honor which you have conferred upon me. I have no speech to make to you. Nothing which I can say to you would influence you one whit in your actions; but I feel when I look around me, that this is an era in West Virginia. When I look at the faces before me, I cannot but believe that the shriek of the locomotive will soon be heard among our silent hills, and the sound of the shuttle hum [unreadable] our valleys. I hope this convention will be a harmonious one. Bury all [unreadable] feeling, and cast aside every [unreadable]. [Applause]. Come here [unreadable], full of the spirit of [unreadable] eager for the [unreadable]. I hope there will be no symptom of classing, nor a lack of harmony. Let there be no stickling for technicalities. This is a convention of business men, and business methods should prevail. What is the pleasure of the Convention?
Mr. Hart - I want to say that the duties of the Chamber of Commerce ends here with the address of welcome by its President, Dr. T. H. Logan, which will at once follow.
Senator Summerville - Before we proceed, I desire to nominate Mr. W. E. R. Byrne, of Braxton, as temporary Secretary.
This suggestion was adopted unanimously.
By Dr. T. H. Logan, of the Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Logan then came forward and said:
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
To a convention of business men it might seem sufficient that I should express in as few words as possible a formal but cordial welcome.
I feel sure, however, that the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Wheeling, which I now have the honor to represent, would not be satisfied with a mere formality.
You are here to-day in acceptance of an invitation extended by the Chamber to devise ways and means to promote the growth and prosperity of the State. Your response to that invitation has been made with an emphasis of character and of numbers which demands a corresponding emphasis of welcome which I do not feel myself able to fully and appropriately express.
This is no ordinary assembly. It is I think without precedent in the history of the State.
I recognize here the faces of men who, in former years, have been prominent and useful servants of the people of the National and State governments; also of men who are now filling places of honor and trust in both.
Here are representatives of railroad and transportation companies, of mining and manufacturing companies, of trades and labor organizations, representatives of the press, educators, farmers, mechanics, bankers, merchants and others.
For the time being we have laid aside our political differences and our partisan prejudices, and have assembled here with the single purpose of promoting our State to that honorable position to which, by her ample resources, we think she is fairly entitled.
Under these auspicious circumstances we find reason not only for an emphasis to our welcome, but also an occasion for hearty congratulations, both of which cordially extend to you.
We are glad to welcome you, because of the opportunity which your presence affords to secure a better understanding of our mutual business relations and obligations. Hitherto we have not thoroughly understood nor appreciated each other. Seemingly conflicting interests have at times provoked local and sectional jealousies, which have been harmful. We need to understand that we cannot develop West Virginia by fighting each other in legislative halls or elsewhere.
If West Virginia was to be simply an agricultural State, like Kansas or Nebraska, we would not need to consider here or elsewhere the subject of mining or manufacturing. If she was simply to be a manufacturing State, like Massachusetts or Connecticut, we would not need to consider the interests of mining or agriculture. If she was to be simply a mining State, like Nevada, we would not need to trouble ourselves about agriculture or manufactures.
But West Virginia has ample resources in all these departments, and if she is to become wealthy and prosperous they must be developed harmoniously. There must be no animosities or partiality. No one or more interests should be allowed to oppress or unfairly embarrass others. They should all grow up together like well-behaved children, in the same well-ordered and harmonious household.
As an indispensable prerequisite to this healthy growth we will do well to remember that we must have more railroads and more money.
In the capacity in which I now appear, it might not be proper for me to speak for the people of the State at large, but speaking for the business men of Wheeling I may truely say, that they feel themselves greatly indebted to the gentlemen who have been successful in the construction of railroads which contribute directly and indirectly to the prosperity of Wheeling, We anticipate still greater benefits when proposed lines and extensions now being constructed shall have been completed.
Some of these lines are comparatively remote from us. Yet all have opened up avenues of trade, which our merchants and manufacturers have been quick to cultivate.
We feel that every additional mile of railroad which is built in West Virginia creates a want which Wheeling is able and willing to supply. And if Wheeling is thus benefited by railroads, how much greater are the benefits which accrue to the people living on the line of these roads.
I have referred to these enterprises, not for the sake of paying a compliment to the men who have successfully carried them forward, but to commend their public spirit and enterprise, and encourage others to follow their example. I have referred to them also in order to emphasize the statement that we cannot afford to quarrel or haggle with the people who propose to building our railroads. We need not only to be just, but we must be prudently generous to those who are willing to furnish the capital and enterprise which are indispensable to the rapid development of our resources.
Senator Camden in an able letter published a few days since referred to Wheeling as "the chief commercial and manufacturing city of the State."
Governor Wilson in an address made some months since, referred to Wheeling as a "plucky little city, illustrating by her example the possibilities of West Virginia with corresponding enterprise."
I have not quoted these gentlemen in any spirit of boasting or vain glory. The fact is that for some time we have not been fully satisfied with ourselves, and have been chiding each other for not making more rapid progress in planting and supporting more diversified industries. We have lately taken a new lease of life and hopeful activity, and are glad to say, but not in the spirit of boasting, that we are moving forward and we want you to go along with us.
We are glad that you are here to see and judge for yourselves. We hope that you will improve the opportunity which will be afforded you to visit our steel plants and blast furnaces, our nail mills and glass manufactories and potteries; our wholesale and retail warehouses, and other establishments which I have not time to mention.
We are anxious you should do this for two reasons. First, that you many encourage [unreadable - Wheeling Intelligencer has "us by your approval, here or else"] where, as occasion may suggest. We need your encouragement, and modestly think we deserve it. Second, that you may, as suggested by Governor Wilson, form some idea of the possibilities of West Virginia under such generous treatment as will rapidly develop her rich resources.
In conclusion permit me to say, that although we are situated in a corner of the State, we feel that our interests are intimately identified with yours. The measure of your prosperity is proportionately the measure of ours. Had we thought or felt otherwise, we would not have invited you to this Convention. We are willing and anxious to cooperate with you, and to cherish with you that wholesome spirit of State pride, which will stimulate us all to vigorous efforts for her advancement.
Mr. President and gentlemen, we have great faith that the measures you inaugurate here will lead to gratifying practical results, and that we shall soon rejoice in that equitable and harmonious combination of capital and labor, or enterprise and industry, which will rapidly multiply our railroads, our manufactures, our mines, our farm products, our commerce, and as the end of all of these, and the best of all, in our towns and cities, along our valleys and hills, and even upon our ragged mountain sides, will multiply an hundred fold, the happy homes of a prosperous, contented and virtuous people.
A Little Trouble in Arranging the Programme.
Dr. Logan, immediately after the conclusion of his address, said that the Chamber of Commerce, in order to expedite matters, had arranged a programme of business, which he would read for the information of the delegates. He desired to impress upon his hearers that this was only a suggestion, and could be amended or rejected as might be thought proper.
He then read the order of business, as follows:
Convention called to order.
Address of welcome.
Temporary chairman chosen.
A committee of seven on Permanent Organization. That is to say, to propose permanent officers, a permanent chairman, a vice-chairman, a secretary and assistant secretaries.
"A committee of seven to devise a plan to promote, systematically, the object for which this convention is assembled. To this committee shall be entrusted in writing all plans.
"A committee of seven on resolutions, to which shall be referred, without reading, all resolutions.
"A committee of seven on finance, to devise a plan to raise money in this convention, and in the several counties, for the immediate work, and until the Legislature can be induced to act in the premises.
"Reception by the Secretary of the names and addresses of persons participating in this Convention."
Mr. J. O. Pendleton suggested that the committees by raised from seven to thirteen.
This was approved by ex-Senator H. G. Davis, who moved that the Committee on Organization be made to consist of thirteen members.
Major Browne, of Kanawha, also approved the idea, and was warmly applauded.
A discussion of this matter followed, participated in by quite a number of delegates, notably Messrs. Hart, Pendleton, B. L. Butcher, J. W. Mason, C. D. Hubbard, and others. Finally, the amendment offered by Senator Davis was adopted, by a rising vote.
Mr. M. T. Hogans then moved to strike out the word "reading," in the claus[e] concerning resolutions, and insert the word "discussion." This led to a further debate, a good deal of valuable time being thus consumed. Finally it was ruled out on a point of order by Mr. Price.
Mr. Pendleton moved to refer the report to the Committee on Organization, and this was followed by Judge G. D. Camden, who offered a substitute for the whole report, as follows:
Resolved, That this Convention now resolves itself into an Immigration and Improvement Society to be called the West Virginia Immigration and Improvement Society, whose object shall be to invite useful immigration to the State, and to aid in developing the resources of the State. It shall have the following officers, viz: A president from each Senatorial district, and three secretaries, one to reside at Wheeling, one to reside at the White Sulphur Springs and one at Charleston.
The said society shall have three sessions annually until otherwise provided, to be held in the city of Wheeling on the _____ day of March; another at the White Sulphur Springs on the third Tuesday of July, and the third in the city of Charleston on the _____ day of January, and at such sessions fifty members of the society shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and as soon as the officers above mentioned are appointed, the society shall be deemed fully organized, and shall at once proceed to business.
The members of the committee, including the members of the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce, shall be deemed members of this society.
This raised a good deal of a stir, several motions being made, among them one by J. C. Palmer to proceed with the regular order of business and "choke off further debate." This met with applause and cries of dissent, in the midst of which Mr. Camden said he proposed to be heard. He then addressed the chair at length upon the objects of the convention, the good to be accomplished and the best methods of procedure, and although at times interrupted with cries of "time," &c, he persisted and made his position clear.
There was a good deal of opposition to Mr. Camden's substitute, and various efforts were made to get it out of the way, but the chair stood firm upon the proposition that the question was solely upon the adoption of Judge Camden's substitute.
John Blankinsop made a humorous protest against any more speeches, and amid roars of laughter the debate proceeded amid a storm of cries of "question," "order," "Mr. Chairman," etc. In the midst of all this, Judge Camden held the floor, and when he could be heard he went on, and completed the explanation of his proposition.
The debate then went on, Ex-Governor Pierpont saying he hoped the Convention would vote the substitute down. It had come here to do good for the entire State of West Virginia, and not to particularly investigate Judge Camden's "rotten land titles." [Applause].
Finally after a very tumultuous debate, the committee at 2:30 adopted the report from the Chamber of Commerce Committee, so far as it referred to the Committee on Permanent Organization, and all the rest of the report referred to that committee.
A resolution offered by Major J. C. Alderson, was then adopted, limiting all speeches during the session to five minutes each.
The Convention then went back to the regular order of business, and the racket was kept up for half an hour, a large number of delegates participating in the debate, some construing the order of business adopted one way and some another, and a good many finding out they were all at sea. About half the members supposed the entire report had been presented, and half, that the latter part of the report had been referred to the Committee on Permanent Organization. Matters grew fearfully complicated, and mothers to reconsider, to proceed and to do other things were offered, and impassioned remarks made on all of them.
Finally the motion to reconsider the adoption of the report was put, and declared carried, and then, at the suggestion of Hon. J. W. Mason, Heber Smith, of Wood, added to this an amendment to the report that all the committees by made to consist of ten persons.
This was voted out in favor of a resolution by Mr. J. O. Pendleton that all the report, save that relating to the Committee on Permanent Organization, be referred to that committee.
This was lost by an overwhelming vote.
Mr. Heber Smith then renewed his motion to make the committee thirteen.
Mr. Alfred Caldwell moved to amend by making [unreadable].
The amendment was adopted, as was the resolution as amended.
A resolution was adopted allowing the delegates from each Senatorial district to select their committeemen and Vice President, and then the report of the Chamber of Commerce Committee was finally adopted as whole.
After a good deal of debate as to the best method of selecting committeemen, a recess of thirty minutes was taken and Pandemonium at once broke loose.
When the convention reassembled the following names were handed in:
First Senatorial District - J. C. Palmer, of Brooke.
Second - H. S. White, of Marshall.
Third - E. Neely.
Fourth - J. L. Knight, of Pleasants.
Fifth - A. B. Wells.
Sixth - B. W. Foster, of Cabell.
Seventh - J. E. Stallings, of Boone.
Eighth - J. G. Crockett.
Ninth - W. S. Edwards, of Kanawha.
Tenth - John W. Mason, of Taylor.
Eleventh - Wm. M. O. Dawson, of Preston.
Twelfth - J. H. Markwood, of Mineral.
Thirteenth - W. M. Clements, of Jefferson.
First Senatorial District - Alfred Caldwell, of Ohio.
Second - Robert McEldowney, of Wetzel.
Third - P. W. Morris, of Ritchie.
Fourth - R. Heber Smith, of Wirt.
Fifth - H. C. Fisher.
Sixth - L. M. Layne, of Cabell.
Seventh - B. H. Oxley, of Lincoln.
Eighth - Thomas O?Brien
Ninth - I. F. Brown, of Kanawha.
Tenth - C. H. Scott, of Randolph.
Eleventh - W. P. Willey, on Monongahela [sic].
Twelfth - John A. Robinson, of Mineral.
Thirteenth - Joseph Trapnell.
To Devise a Plan of Procedure.
First Senatorial District - Geo. Wise, of Ohio.
Second - A. Brook Fleming.
Third - Creed Collins, of Doddridge.
Fourth - R. H. Browne, of Pleasants.
Fifth - R. Wiley, Jr.
Sixth - W. H. McAlliston, of Putnam.
Seventh - J. W. McCleary, of Lincoln.
Eighth - Ran Stalnaker.
Ninth - C. P. Dorr, of Webster.
Tenth - W. B. Maxwell, of Lincoln.
Eleventh - John P. Jones, of Preston.
Twelfth - H. G. Davis, of Mineral.
Thirteenth - B. C. Washington.
First Senatorial District - J. H. Atkinson, Hancock.
Second - J. E. Nelson.
Third - J. C. Clifford.
Fourth - Joseph Hale, of Wirt.
Fifth - P. C. Eastham.
Sixth - J. L. Caldwell, of Cabell.
Seventh - G. L. Karns, of Mercer.
Eighth - J. A. Parker, of Summers.
Ninth - C. C. Lewis, of Kanawha.
Tenth - C. C. McWhorter.
Eleventh - F. Hermans, of Preston.
Twelfth - A. C. Scherr, of Grant.
Thirteenth - Alexander Parks.
First Senatorial District - W. P. Hubbard.
Second - J. W. Gallaher, of Marshall.
Third - R. F. Kidd.
Fourth - D. D. Johnson, of Tyler.
Fifth - G. W. Tippett.
Sixth - E. A. Bennett, of Cabell.
Seventh - W. M. Workman, of Lincoln.
Eighth - W. R. Thompson, Summers.
Ninth - J. E. Kenna, of Kanawha.
Tenth - T. P. R. Brown, of Barbour.
Eleventh - G. C. Sturgiss, of Mon[on]galia.
Twelfth - Geo. E. Price, of Mineral.
Thirteenth - R. P. Chew.
When the reading of the above list of names had been completed, a motion was made that all the committees except that upon resolutions retire at once.
This was adopted, with the understanding that rooms had been prepared for the committees at the McLure House, and that the Committee on Permanent Organization report at 4 o'clock.
An attempt was made to have the Committee on Resolutions retire at once, along with the other committees, but the point was made that this committee had nothing before it, and it therefore ought to wait.
There were then loud calls for ex-Senator Henry G. Davis, and that gentleman coming to the front of the stage was greeted with a storm of applause, which continued for some time.
His Speech to the Convention Yesterday Afternoon.
Mr. Davis said:
Gentlemen: - I congratulate you and the State on this meeting of representative men and citizens, and the interest manifested in the great work you are to originate and put in active and, I hope, successful operation. This is an age of progress, and West Virginia has too long stood in her own light in not keeping pace with the times, and in allowing her sister States to outstrip and pass her in the great race of life. The civilized world has made great advancement in population, wealth and inventions during the last fifty years, than in all time before. In the earlier days, when the country was without railroads and without the advantages accruing from the use of recent and most approved machinery of all kinds, all were on the same footing, but now that many of the States have these benefits to a large degree, while we are in our infancy, you might say, the contest is unequal.
As to railroads a glance at the map will show you the disparity between our State and the States that surround us. Late statistics on this point are as follows:
|State||    Area in Square Miles     ||Miles of Railroads     ||Sq. Miles to each Mile of Railroad.|
We want more railroads, and must have them, or we cannot keep up with the rest of the world; each county in the State ought to have one or more railroads passing through it. Competition in railroads brings about a rivalry that compels the roads to do right, even if inclined otherwise, and the people get the benefit. Unlike many other enterprises railroads must have legislation. Capital is timid, and will not locate where it is likely to be unfairly or unjustly treated. A town or country may be dead, to use a common expression, but let a railroad pass through it, or manufactories be started in it, and industries of all kinds spring at once into life, and the mineral resources and agricultural products find a market. These things are essential to the life and prosperity of a country, but it takes large amounts of money to build railroads and manufactories; West Virginia has but very little to spare in this direction, and if we want these enterprises among us, with their kindred benefits, we must be liberal, fair and just to those having the necessary capital, and giving them a hearty welcome and the assurance that we will uphold them in their efforts in all ways. Without railroads, our great resources, coal, iron-ore, timber and agricultural products, could not be marketed and would be comparatively valueless. I would invite and foster the building of railroads, and be liberal and just to their owners and management; make them feel we are their friends. The more railroads we have, the better for the advancement and prosperity of the State. I would have the railroads, in return, liberal, fair and just, in their treatment of the people; require the same of them that you accord to them.
It is a great mistake, made by many people, that all railroads are profitable investments to the stockholders. Very few, if any, of the railroads in this state are paying dividends. Some say the railroads treat the people badly, and probably they do at times, but I take it we would rather have a railroad with a bad management [unreadable. Wheeling Intelligencer "than to be without one. Rain sometimes"] proves disastrous in flood and storm; the sun sometimes becomes our relentless foe, and withers our crops; money, law, education and even religion are sometimes perverted and used to accomplish wicked purposes; yet these are all necessities, and we could not well do without them, any more than we could without railroads.
The railroads in this State last year paid into the treasury, in the shape of taxes, $246,738, which went toward the support of the state, schools and counties. The more railroads we have, the less taxes the people will have to pay.
With more railroads, and having abundant water power, and all the natural resources necessary to the successful working of all and every kind of manufacturing industry, the hills and valley ought to send forth the smoke of thousands of mills and manufactories, and our manufactured products should have a name and standing all over the world. We have the material; we need the energy and capital.
From 1880 to 1886 inclusive 3,767,143 emigrants have arrived and settled in this country, most of them becoming well to do people, many of them farmers, skilled artisans and laborers. Of this number, but very few made their home in West Virginia, probably not over 1,000 in all. There is no good reason why this number should not have amounted to 100,000, but many reasons why it should, if the proper efforts had been made to let the world know what we had to offer.
Many have gotten into the habit of speaking of West Virginia as a little State. This is incorrect, especially so far as her area is concerned, it being more than half as large as either New York or Pennsylvania, and larger than the area of the five States, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, combined. But while we are much larger than the five States last named, they far outstrip us in population and wealth, having an average of 170 inhabitants to each square mile, while we have but 25, and an average value of property of $241,094.71 to each square mile, while we have but $12,456.88. I have compiled the following table bearing on this point, which I think will be of interest:
|States.||        Area        ||Population.||      True Value of Property|
|New York||47,320       ||5,082,871||$7,619,000,000|
|    1. Connecticut||4,845       ||622,700||852,000,000|
|    2. Rhode Island||1,085       ||276,5_1||420,000,000|
|    3. Massachusetts||8,010       ||1,783,085||2,795,000,000|
|    4. New Jersey||7,455       ||1,131,110||1,433,000,000|
|    5. Delaware||1,960       ||146,608||133,000,000|
|5 States above Total||23,385       ||3,960,040||5,638,000,000|
|West Virginia||24,645       ||618,457||307,000,000|
|New York, per sq. Mile||106.7||159,995.89|
|Pennsylvania per sq. Mile||95.2||119,884.80|
At same rate per square mile as the 5 States, West Virginia's population would be 4,173,234
Her True Wealth would be $5,941,779,128
Having called your attention to what we lack, I want now to speak of the resources and advantages we have, and make a suggestion as to the best way, in my opinion, to let others know the grand opportunities they are missing in not casting their fortunes with ours. That I conceive to be the main object of this meeting.
We have long needed information as to the mineral deposits of our State, which could only be obtained by a thorough geological survey. This, I am glad to state, we are in a fair way of getting. Major Powell, who is in charge of all U.S. Geological Surveys, writes me recently that he has made considerable progress with the survey of this State, and will push forward until it is accomplished. This will be of almost incalculable value to the State.
West Virginia has reason to be proud of her free school system, and the rapid and satisfactory progress it has made and is making. Statistics show the schools of this State to be in a most flourishing condition, and above the average condition of similar schools in other States. The free school system of West Virginia is often quoted to encourage other States to bring their schools up to her standard.
Being situated between the extremes of heat and cold, the climate of West Virginia is comparatively uniform. The health statistics, according to the United States Census of 1880, show this State to be well up on the desirable list. The death rate was then shown to be
|In the United States      ||15.09 per 1,000|
The figures demonstrate that West Virginia is a good place to make your home in, of you want good health, and to live to a vigorous old age.
In money West Virginia is not rich, but her credit stands high. The "Finanical [sic] Review," for 1887, shows that the number of failures, and their amount in West Virginia, were less than in most of the other States. The following comparisons fairly illustrate this statement:
|1887||      Population 1880||      Number in business||      Number of failures||      Amount of failures|
It is fair to state that the other States named have a larger proportion of firms and companies engaged in business, because they are older States, but the failures and their amount do not make near as favorable a showing, considering everything, as do ours.
All who have informed themselves as to the wonderful resources of this States agree that Nature has been bountifully rich to us in coal, timber, iron ore, coke, salt, petroleum and agricultural and grazing lands.
A recent work on the "Natural Resources of the United States," by Patton, says of West Virginia: "This is one of the most interesting States in the Union, in respect to mineral wealth, as, in proportion to its size, it is the richest in coal, iron, salt and oil. It has of coal, both bituminous and cannel, at least 16,000 square miles; the seams vary from three to tweleve [sic] feet in thickness; in some instances, where they are above one another, the aggregate depth is twenty-five feet."
The making of coke is comparatively new with us, but is a large and growing industry. In quality it is equal to the best that is made, and it commands as good price as the celebrated Connellsville make.
We have vast forests of all kinds of merchantable timber, thousands of acres of which are not only undeveloped, but undisturbed and unbroken. The varieties comprise almost every known kind of valuable timber, such as walnut, cherry, spruce, oak, ash, chestnut, hemlock, maple and poplar.
Of our iron ore, salt and petroleum, I will leave others more particularly interested and better posted, to speak.
In coal, we beat the world. The United States census of 1880 says: "No State in the Union surpasses West Virginia in the variety of coals it contains, nor does any contain an equal amount, in proportion to its area."
|      Square miles coal||      Production 1886|
|West Virginia contains||16,000||4,000,000  tons|
|Great Britain||11,900||169,000,000       "|
The total production of coal of all kinds in the United States in 1870 was 32,803,969 ton
In 1887 was 115,641,017
The production of coal in West Virginia, in 1876, as estimated by Seward, was 600,000 ton
In 1886 4,000,000
This great increase is likely to continue in the same, if not a greater proportion.
With more coal than either Pennsylvania or Great Britain, West Virginia produced in 1886, only about 1-15th as much as Pennsylvania, and 1-40th as much as Great Britain. This is owing very largely to want of capital and energy to develop it and transportation to move it. With all that she has to contend with, in this particular, she is sending coal to the whole Atlantic seaboard, as far north as Eastport, Maine, and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.
We are in a fair way now, however, to get better railroad facilities, which will open up new territory and bring in people of enterprise and capital. The two great trunk lines which pass through the northern and southern portions of the State, the Baltimore and Ohio and Chesapeake and Ohio systems, are owned and controlled by outside capitalists, and have been worked to a large degree in the interest of other States and sections. Matters appear to be changing for the better in this particular, especially with B. & O. road, and it now looks as if more attention would be paid to the developing and fostering of local interests and enterprises in the State, and this is as it should be, for no road can or ought to prosper that neglects or retards the building up of the waste places on its lines.
Did you ever stop to think of the great value of coal compared with other minerals? Without coal the manufacture of iron, steel, brass, copper and all other minerals would cost double what it does now. Nearly all our heating and cooking is done with coal. It is the foundation of steam, and but for its use none of our engines, steamboats or ocean steamers would be moved. The fact is coal is the moving power of the world. Let us make a personal, strong effort, and put West Virginia in the front rank of coal producing States, where she properly belongs.
West Virginia not only excels in the quantity and quality of her minerals and timber, but her agricultural lands are fully equal to many of the Western States, and far better than the Northern States. The valley, hill-sides and mountain-tops yield good corn, wheat, rye, oats and grass. Last summer, I made a trip along the Valley river to Mingo flats, and found that country, especially around and near Huttonsville, equal to any in Ohio or Pennsylvania for general agricultural purposes; and it often affords as good grazing as any other section of country in the world. There is a fair prospect for a railroad in this country, when this will be become one of the most desirable locations in any State.
West Virginia is so favor[ab]ly] located that she is neither subject to the blizzards, cyclones and droughts of the North and West, nor to the intense hear and fever devastating scourges of the South. The suffering in the northwest this winter has been intense, and numbers of persons have frozen to death, in some instances, whole families have been exterminated, while the stock destroyed has ran up into the hundreds of thousands. While deeply sympathizing with these sufferers, we say to those living in the regions visited by these dire scourges, make your homes with us, where your chances of success are as good, if not better, and you will have entire freedom from all such terrible calamities.
West Virginia has lower State taxes than many of the other States as the following table will show.
|Nebraska||76 1/4c on the $100|
|California||49 7-10c on      "|
|Illinois||42c on the       "|
|Kansas||41 1/2c on the      "|
|West Virginia      ||35c|
As the years roll on and her railroads multiply and manufactories of all kinds increase, the rate of tax will grow less. She is not but about twenty-five years old, yet she has built and paid for her State Capitol, penitentiary, deaf, dumb and blind institution, insane asylum, State University, State Normal Schools, and thousands of schoolhouses, and has no debt to look after. These things accomplished, let us foster the building of railroads, and encourage the starting of all kinds of industries, and my word for it, in a few years the people will scarcely feel the taxes they will be called upon to pay, they will amount to so little.
Twenty-six out of the thirty-eight States of this Union have, in some form, a Bureau of Statistics and Information. The Legislature of Maryland is now in session, and a bill has been introduced appropriating $10,000 for such a Bureau. The West Virginia Legislature will be in session next winter and will, I have no doubt, take this subject into favorable consideration. In the meantime, that no time may be lost, can we not, by private subscription, organize an inexpensive Bureau and put some competent person at the head of it, that will enable parties outside the State, who might wish to settle or invest their capital with us, to get information of the opportunities in the State for investment or location. This would not cost much, and I for one am willing to help the move, financially and personally.
I became a resident of this State in 1853, and have no idea of changing. My home is with you and my fortunes are identified with yours. I want here to express my appreciation of, and deep gratitude for the many favors the people of the State have bestowed upon me; and to say that I stand ready to do anything I can to aid in forwarding [t]he development and interests.
There is no good reason why any person should leave the State and I hope none will, but that millions will settle in the State instead. There are as good chances here for the farmer, miner, manufacturer, merchant and laborer to get fair returns for their capital and work as anywhere else. The resources and capabilities of this State have never been properly and fairly known to outsiders. Let us do all we can to let the world know where we are, what we are and what we have, and that all who come among us to aid in putting the State where she ought to be, in the front rank, will receive a hearty welcome. Brains, energy, labor and capital can command and secure a good reward in West Virginia.
On concluding his speech, Senator Davis was greeted with tremendous and long continued applause.
A Gleat [Great?] Address By a Thoroughly Confident Orator.
There were loud calls for Stephen B. Elkins, and he came forward amid great applause. He said:
Gentlemen: - Until this time no organized effort has been made to bring to the general attention of this country and of Europe the intrinsic wealth of West Virginia. The State presents unusual opportunities and advantages to the immigrant, mechanic, farmer, manufacturer, business man and capitalist. The local press has done its work well, but in the language of an illustrious queen, when coquetting with the wisent of kings, "The one-half of the greatness was not told."
According to its area West Virginia is the richest State in the Union in natural resources, particularly in coal, iron ore and timber, which furnishes the basis of so much wealth, and which goes so far towards making a country great and prosperous. West Virginia does not need the machinery of exaggeration employed by the modern boomer to call attention to her advantages. They are apparent to the casual observer. The beautiful scenery, healthful climate, inexhaustible mines of coal and iron ore, forests of fine timber, and fertile valleys, need only to be known and understood to draw within her borders people seeking employment and homes, business men, manufacturers and capitalists desiring to make investments.
An impression exists that West Virginia is a far-off Southern State, almost inaccessible by ordinary lines of travel. Wheeling, its most important city, is farther north than Philadelphia, and Charleston the Capital is on a line but little south of Washington City.
With one arm the State reaches north to within 100 miles of Lake Erie, with the other it extends east to within 75 miles of tide water at Baltimore and 60 miles of the Capital of the Great Republic. Two-thirds of its territory lies as far north as Ohio. West Virginia borders on the State of Pennsylvania 125 miles, is divided by the Potomac river from the State of Maryland for 150 miles, and by the Ohio river from the State of Ohio ofr [for] a distance of more than 200 miles.
By rail West Virginia can be reached in less than one hour from Pittsburg, in two hours from Baltimore and Washington, in five hours from Philadelphia, Columbus and Cincinnati, in seven hours from New York, and in fourteen hours from Chicago. The State lies on the great highway from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi Valley. Two trunk lines of railroad pass through it from East to West. For the population on the Atlantic seaboard, reaching from Philadelphia to Richmond, the natural and best route to the West is through West Virginia. The old National road, which in its day corresponded in commercial importance to the great Pennsylvania railroad of to-day, was built through what is now the territory of West Virginia. Lying on both sides of the Alleghany range of mountains, the State looks east and West and divides its trade and commerce between the Mississippi Valley and the Atlantic seaboard. The situation makes it easy of access from all the great centers of population, and its position in relation to the whole country and its markets are central, commanding and important.
The State has 54 counties, with a population of about 800,000. Sixty per cent of the working people in 1880 were engaged in agriculture.
The area is 24,780 square miles, more than twice as large as the State of Maryland, two and a half times as large as Massachusetts with 2,000,000 population, and larger than Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
The kingdom of Belgium and the Netherlands have together a population of more than 10,000,000 people. The area of West Virginia is greater than the areas of both combined.
In 1880 the State had 62,694 farms, covering 10,225,341 acres. The average of the cleared lands was $21.05, wooded lands $9.39 per acre. In that year the hay product yielded about $4,000,000 and the corn $6,000,000, and the value of manufactured products was more than $22,000,000.
West Virginia is traversed from north to south, a distance of about 240 miles, by the great Appalachian system of mountains, forming within the State two and sometimes three distinct ranges, which stretch in width from east to west across its borders fro nearly two hundred miles.
Never failing springs and streams of pure water break out from the sides of the mountains, making the State one of the best watered in the Union. Two-thirds of the State is underlaid with coal, its area reaching in extent sixteen thousand square miles, more than that of Pennsylvania or England, while six navigable rivers flow through its borders.
Mountains, hills and valley alternate upon a surface which is fertile from the lowest valley to the highest summit. The mountains and hills when cleared yield abundantly the richest grasses, making grazing and dairy farms of unsurpassed excellence. The Allegheny Mountains will yet largely contribute the dairy products consumed on the Atlantic seaboard and for export to Europe.
Within 300 miles of tide water, and 100 miles of the Ohio river, hundreds of thousands of acres of good agricultural lands in West Virginia can be bought for from $4 to $8 per acre; the timber on which will pay for the clearing and fencing. These lands are underlaid with coal, which will yield from 5,000 to 6,000 tons per acre, and which will some day be worth, with transportation facilities to market, ten cents per ton royalty in the ground.
Fuel and transportation are among and in a certain sense the greatest factors in this industrial age. Civilization and commerce, the necessities and comfort of man, are most dependent upon and most affected by them. Fuel is the more serious and the most important, because upon it mainly depends transportation and the manufacturing interests.
One single railway corporation - and not the largest in the country - consumes 1,000,000 tons of coal, costing about $3,000,000, to feed the engines that draw its enormous tonnage.
In West Virginia coal is cheaper at the mouth of the mines than in England. The State offers to all railroads and manufacturing interests within the contiguous to it borders, the cheapest fuels in the world.
In 1885 Pennsylvania had 7,787 miles of completed railroad, Ohio 7,325 miles, Virginia 2,673 miles, which West Virginia had only 1,039 miles. Thus surrounded by a net work of railroads, it cannot be long before they will push across her boundaries, furnishing adequate facilities for transporting to market her rapidly increasing products.
As far back as 1820 the tide of population from the East to the West passed over the Allegheny Mountains to seize and occupy the fertile lands of the Mississippi valley. After 1850 this great movement reached and occupied the lands belonging to the great Rocky Mountain system and the Pacific coast.
During the last seventy years all of the best and most available lands for agriculture in the West have been taken. It is becoming difficult to find low-priced agricultural lands there, or lands belonging to the government, suitable for agriculture, which can be bought at the minimum government price. The Great American Desert, laid down in our early geographies, has proven to be a myth. It is to day covered with farms, and furnishes grazing for millions of sheep, cattle and horses.
The tide of population that for three-quarters of a century has moved with such persistence to the West is abating. It has broken itself against the great chair on the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast, and is slowly, but surely, making its way back and setting in toward the Alleghany Mountains, the South, and the great Southwest. (A perceptible percentage of our immigration is not now going West.)
There is no longer any frontier in the West. West Virginia and the States covering the Alleghany Mountains down to the Gulf, have become the frontier. The next great step in the order of our national progress and development is the occupation of these States, the appropriation of their forests, and the opening up of their mines. They can, and will, largely absorb our increase in population, and furnish employment, homes and business opportunities for unborn millions.
Within the last thirty years the North and West have enjoyed eras of unexampled prosperity. The next great advance in material prosperity must take place in the South. After a lapse of over a quarter of a century, the South is beginning to emerge from the paralysis, desolation, distress and despair that have hung over her people and their industrial interests as the result of war and defeat.
The commercial relations with the Northern States are becoming better and more closely established. The routes of transportation and travel in this country during the last forty years have been almost entirely East to West. This will be to some extent modified as the South comes into prominence and takes her true industrial position in the Union.
New routes will be established between the North and South to meet the demands of increasing trade and commerce. The great wealth of natural resources belonging to the South, united to free labor, makes her development and progress certain. The time is close at hand when the South will not send away its products to be manufactured, paying not only the cost of their transportation but a profit to the manniacturer [?] and the cost of transportation on the manufactured articles which its people consume. The incubus so long resting upon the South, hindering and impending her in the march of progress, is about to be removed. The South will not only manufacture nearly everything needed for consumption within its own borders, but something more to sell to her, neighbors and send abroad.
Up to 1861 there had not bee produced in any single year in the United States more than 850,000 tons of pig iron. It is estimated that during the coming year the State of Alabama along will manufacture 400,000 tons of pig iron, which will sell for more than $5,000,000.
It is estimated that agriculture yielded to the Southern farmers in 1887, $75,000,000 more than in 1886. The value of the corn crop alone was $28,000,000 greater in 1887 than in 1886.
Over $100,000,000 were spent in building and equiping new and improving old railroads in the South last year.
The aggregate value of all the products of the Cotton mills in the South was $43,000,000 in 1887 against $21,000,000 in 1886.
According to a careful estimate in order to allow the South its proportion of the railroads of the country to enable it to transact its increasing business, it would require by the time they could be built 40,000 miles in addition to what it now has. If the rails should cost $30 per ton this item alone would amount to more than $100,000,000.
The South will surely manufacture a part of these rails as well as the other materials and equipment necessary to the completion of 40,000 miles of railroad.
During the past eighty years there have come to our shoes from Europe and other lands over 14,000,000 people, more than the combined population of the three kingdoms of Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. History furnishes no parallel to this great movement of people. It is estimated this year the number of immigrants to the United States will reach 650,000. The increase in population in the United States is about 30 per cent, for each decade, or 3 per cent, per annual. At this rate, we are adding to our population about 2,000,000 per annum, more than three times the population of West Virginia in 1880. This increase will do on. Land, homes and employment must be found for the same. The States having good unoccupied lands, mines and timber offer the best advantages for largely absorbing the annual increase.
West Virginia, bordering on Pennsylvania and Ohio, with largely the same climate, the same soil and the same rivers, with her rich valleys, her forests of all varieties of timber almost untouched and her mines of coal and iron ore, only opened here and there, and larger in area and quantity than those of Ohio and Pennsylvania, is certain, under proper conditions, to have and enjoy the same, or a greater degree of development, progress and prosperity than either of those great States.
While nature has done so much for the State man has done very little. With her natural advantages West Virginia has the basis of much that makes a State great, powerful and prosperous, its people contented and happy, still she has lingered in the march of progress and development. We who are sincerely interested in the progress of the State, should in all proper ways and by all proper means, make its attractions, advantages and resources widely known. This will bring what is most needed and desired - more farms, more coal and iron mines opened, more coke furnaces, more mills more capital, more towns, cities, and a population reaching millions instead of hundreds of thousands.
The State has no debt. Taxes are low. The people are liberty loving and law abiding. For the most part they lead pure lives. Crime is rare and when committed is promptly punished. The laws are fair, liberal and well administered. Under them the rights of the wage earners are guaranteed, and capital is amply protected. If we do our duty and make wise use of the gifts nature has so bountifully lavished upon this fair State, happiness, prosperity and progress will be the record. The present is auspicious.
Everything seems to point to success, to warrant confidence, encourage hope and make the future bright for ourselves and our posterity.
Ex-Senator J. N. Camden for President of the Convention.
At the conclusion of Mr. Elkin's speech, the Committee on Permanent Organization made the following report of permanent officers:
President - Ex-Senator J. N. Camden, of Wood.
Secretary - Hon. B. L. Butcher, of Randolph.
Assistant Secretaries - James D. Pratt, of Jefferson, and W. A. Gibson, of Cabell.
This report was greeted with enthusiasm, and was adopted without dissent.
Upon coming forward, Mr. Camden was very warmly greeted. He said: -
Gentlemen of the Convention: - In thanking you warmly for the distinguished honor you have conferred upon me, in selecting me as the permanent presiding officer of so large and important a convention, I want to say that while it is always gratifying to me to take part in public enterprises of any sort, my bring present among you to-day is largely owing to an unforeseen occurrence, which left me no time to prepare an adequate address to this body. We are all assembled here for one common purpose; we all desire to benefit a State, which possesses an almost inexhaustible store of the wealth and comforts of life - a State which possesses more than the average business opportunities, and a wider field for enterprise, than many of the other States of the Union. Upon this desire we are all united, and without trespassing further upon your time, and thanking you again for the honor conferred upon me, I announce the convention ready for business.
The Senior Senator Addresses the Convention.
In response to long and loud calls from the audience, Senator John E. Kenna came to the front of the stage and said: -
Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Convention. - This, I must be permitted to say, is the largest business enterprise in which I ever had the good fortune to be a stockholder. [Applause.] This is not a political convention. It is the only convention I ever saw, in which there were no Republicans, no Democrats, and no Greenbackers. [Applause.] Party politics are here, by unanimous concurrence, to be laid upon the altar of that wider range and wider interpretation of politics - the politics of advancement, the politics of progress, the politics of business enterprise, and business activity - by which we hope to place West Virginia in that front rank of sister commonwealths which stand in matchless grandeur, the admiration of mankind.
I have listened to the admirable ad- addresses by Senator Davis and Hon. S. B. Elkins. I can add nothing to the facts and statistics so ably presented by those gentlemen. But I have always had an idea that we, of West Virginia blessed by providence with every material advantage, are the most conservative people on the face of the earth. Look at the blessings vouchsafed to us. We are spared the miasma of the East, and the cyclones of the West. The yellow fever of the South comes to our borders, looks upon us, and departs, and the great fires of the North have not visited us.
Again, if we are not the most, we are at least not the least manly of the people of this country. It was in our southeastern borders that General Washington spoke when he said that if the armies of the government disappeared and the sinews of war ran short, he would alone retreat to the fastnesses of West Augusta, and there, uplifting the flag of his country, would bid it wave over freemen. [Applause.]
We of West Virginia are not unanimous in politics [applause] - not quite; but we are unanimous in this great enterprise. [Applause.] I am not much of a talker. I have been a workingman all my life. [Applause.] But I want to impress one thing upon this body. I want our committee to report and this Convention to adopt a fixed and permanent plan of action, which will place in responsible hands a mass of information, such as will answer all questions of all men, from the North pole to Southern Australia. I thank you, gentlemen. [Applause.]
An Impromtu Address by the Chief Executive.
There were loud calls for Governor Wilson, and in response to them the Executive came forward and said:
Mr. Chairman and Fellow Citizens: - That which seems to me most important on this occasion, above and beyond all else, is the fact that West Virginians are here from all portions of the State, determined to take her prosperity and her future in their own hands. [Applause.] We have had our defeats and our successes. So far as natural resources are concerned, it is pretty well understood by all that no State in the Union - no twenty-five square miles on the face of the earth - begins to have the natural resources we have here in West Virginia. [Applause.] It would be fruitless to attempt to ascertain why our wealth is not equal to our opportunities. It is enough to know that the [unreadable] State have determined to do better. [Applause.] There is scarcely a county in our State which is not underlaid with coal of every known variety except the anthracite. We not only have 4,000 square miles more coal than Pennsylvania, but a better coal than Pennsylvania. [Applause.] We have also - and I know it is a big statement to make - more of the fine hard woods useful for manufacturing than any ten States in this Union. This is not an exaggeration. It is a cold, calm fact. We have a larger surplus timber supply - a supply above and beyond the needs of our own people - than any ten States combined. [Applause.] And, fellow citizens, when this wood is removed, it must not be presumed that these lands are valueless. The soil of West Virginia is fertile from the valleys to the mountain tops. There is scarcely a mile of our surface which cannot be used for agricultural purposes. It is rough, but it is fertile.
The Governor then quoted some examples of what had been done in the Kanawha Valley by farmers going there destitute and growing well-to-do, if not rich, after a few years of patient toil, and quoted a farmer friend who, on hill land, averaged fifteen bushels of wheat to the acre. That was the sort of country for a poor man to go to.
The Governor then turned his attention to the abuse which had lately been showered upon the State through the Hatfield-McCoy feud, and denounced it in unmeasured terms, saying the course of some of the metropolitan papers had been a disgrace to journalism. The people of Logan county had been referred to as outlaws, who had no regard for the marriage relation, and who had no respect for law. He wanted to say the people of Logan county were as law abiding as any in the State or the country. It had been said they had but six schools in the county; the truth was they had seventy. [Applause.]
The Governor then turned his attention to the public schools, eulogizing them as much better than some other States much more favored, and especially did he make a favorable comparison with the States of Maine and New Hampshire. As illustrating the growth of the schools of West Virginia he read the following figures.
|1880||  Population Census      ||No. School Houses   ||  Am't Expended  ||Teachers 1886     ||Average length school|
|1880||1886||1886||Males||Females||term in days 1886|
|West Va.||618,443||4,260||$1,036.520.46  ||$30.71||$30.71||102|
|108 - 1887|
|New Hampshire||346,984||1,190||617,472.16  ||40.22||23.56||101.8|
The Governor continued at considerable length and was frequently applauded.
An Eloquent Speech by the Kanawha Valley Orator.
At this point there were loud cries for Henry S. Walker, mingled with calls for Mr. C. B. Hart. Mr. Hart came to the footlights and said he was deeply sensible of the honor conferred upon him, but he did not desire to make a speech. He rejoiced to see so many of West Virginia's business men present, and he desired to say that, as one who had taken an humble part in the movement, he would rather stand before the gathering there assembled than to fill the chair of the Chief Magistrate of the nation. He was not born in West Virginia, but he had come into the State to give his life and labors to advance her welfare. If anything remained for him to do, he would be glad to contribute his effort to the cause.
The cries for Mr. Walker were then renewed, and in response to them, the Secretary of State came to the front of the stage, and was most enthusiastically received.
Mr. Walker said it was one of the proud privileges of his life to greet and be greeted by this magnificent convention. Without any pretense of making a fitting reply to the call, he desired to congratulate the State upon this uprising. Ever since June 20, 1863, the people of the State had been sleeping quietly side by side, except, he admitted, that part of the people who had gone abroad and engaged in negotiations of a slightly belligerent nature. [Applause.] The people had been living among the greatest array of natural gifts God ever bestowed upon a nation, and had done but little with them. Now, for the first time the people had come together to look over their possessions, and take counsel as to how they could be turned to the best advantage.
Mr. Walker spoke of the favorable climate enjoyed over the entire territory, the absence of blizzards, etc., and said this was a great inducement to capital and labor seeking fresh fields. What, said he, have we to offer the enquiring immigrant? I think we can say to the frost-bitten victims of a Dakota winter that we have here a genial climate, and are favored by fresh mountain air, breathing which, with ordinary care, more people should die of old age than from all the ills flesh is heir to. The soil is equal to the best, responding quickly to the kindly hand of patient tillage. The farmers of West Virginia could not, in the extravagant language of a Western prospectus, raise one hundred bushels of potatoes, or forty bushels of wheat, or three tons of hay to the acre; but he could promise that as every man sowed, so should he also reap, and the agriculturist need have no fear that the clinch bug or the grasshopper would molest him or make him afraid. He dwelt upon the fine livestock of the State, and said the West Virginians could point with pride to the perfection of everything wearing horns or hoofs raised in the State.
Referring again to the advantages the State offers to the outside world, he said to the lumberman was held out 8,000,000 acres of magnificent timber, untouched as yet by the axe; to the manufacturer there was tendered hundreds of miles of untamed water power, and the rivers with their dimpled pools and roaring cataracts; to the miner there was an unbroken line of coal deposits, extending from the Pennsylvania line through every county to Wyoming and McDowell, inviting the great world to come to it for its coal and coke. To men of every class there were offered unsurpassed advantages.
He referred to the great progress which had been made of late years in the State, notably in the Kanawha Valley, when in 1871 they mined 3,000,000 tons of coal, while in 1887, 15,000,000 tons were sent west, and 25,000,000 tons east. The general government had done much to benefit the Kanawha region, by expending $2,000,000 in improving the navigation, and from this and other causes, real estate had increased in value from 100 to 1,000 per cent in the last fifteen years.
Mr. Walker eulogized the people of West Virginia, saying that among them slept the mother of that great, silent soldier, General Grant [cheers] and the mother of that noble warrior, Stonewall Jackson. [Cheers] Recurring, however, to the natural wealth of the State, he said those resources were valueless unless the people made up their minds to help themselves, and he then referred to Mr. Stephen B. Elkins as a gentleman of national repute, and said he was glad to hear that he had abdicated his position as the Warwick of one of the great political parties in order to found a material empire on West Virginia soil.
He then referred to the subject of land titles, saying that the belief had become common that he who bought West Virginia land bought one law suit sure, and perhaps half a dozen. He wanted to compose the public mind on this subject.
He plead with his hearers to reconstruct, reorganized and reform the the [sic] present system of public road construction. He said the attempt to make roads by the unpaid labor of the masses of the people was a failure. If the people wanted good roads, they would have to pay for them, as they had to pay for anything else. Here, he thought, might be a solution of the [unreadable] in prisons, the convicts were a source of alarm to the honest labor of the State, but in working upon the roads they would come in contact with none, and would at the same time be self-supporting. He then turned his attention to the public schools, insisting that the Stane [sic] had done well by her children in this respect, and pointed out in detail what had been done and made comparrisons [sic] with other states. His peroration was a most eloquent thing, and the audience listened in breathless silence, and when he concluded he was cheered until the building rang again.
Addresses by Hon. A. W. Campbell, and Ex-Gov. Pierpoint.
Hon. A. W. Campbell was called for, and responded in a brief speech, and then the venerable Ex-governor Pierpoint made a lengthy speech, upon the subject of land values and land bills, making a clear exposition of those questions from his standpoint.
The chairman made some announcements relating to committee work, a number of resolutions were sent to the stage, and referred to the Committee on Resolutions, and then the convention took a recess until 8 p.m., at which time it was hoped some of the committees, which were to work at the McLure House, would be ready to make reports.
Speeches Made by a Number of the Delegates.
The Convention was not called to order for the evening session until after 8 o'clock, but the delegates were promptly on hand, and put in the time before the opening of business in calling upon one and another prominent citizen or delegate, none of the men so honored, however, making a response.
When President Camden finally rapped for order he introduced Col. B. W. Byrne, of Kanawha, to the audience, and for half an hour that gentleman entertained his hearers with a most excellent address, conservative and sensible to a marked degree. He confined himself almost entirely to land titles, and showed conclusively that West Virginia was well off in this respect as any of her sister States.
At the conclusion of Col. Byrne's address the President announced Messrs. J. C. Addison, Oscar Seeley, J. L. Rice, Oliver Gorrell, C. L. Thompson and William G. Brown as a committee to distribute blanks to the delegates, for the recording of the names and addresses of those present.
While this work was going on, he also announced that he had received word from the Committee on Resolutions that it had appointed a sub-committee to go over the resolutions submitted, and put them in shape for consideration by the full committee at 9 o'clock this morning, to which time an adjournment had been taken.
It was also announced by Mr. Hart that the Opera House could not be secured for to-day, but the Committee had secured for the uses of the Convention a hall even larger, the Capitol Rink, where the Convention would assemble this morning at an hour to be hereafter fixed. He also announced that at 2:15 this afternoon special trains would leave the Elm Grove station, carrying delegates to the Park, where a treat awaited them. At 7 o'clock a train placed at the disposal of the delegates by the B. & O. road, and all who desired could take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded to visit one of the largest industries in the world, and witness the operation of making steel by night. He would guarantee a beautiful and instructive sight.
Mr. W. H. Tarr, of Jefferson, was introduced to the convention, and made an excellent speech, which was well received, and loudly applauded.
He was followed by Co. D. D. Johnson, of Tyler, who made a speech bristling with facts, and full of timely suggestions. He deprecated so much talk, and said what the people of the United States would demand, before they would believe in the wealth of the State, would be material facts. They would want to see the assertions made, backed up with facts and material evidence. He was not one of those who would bring speculators from the West into the State. It would do the State little good if New Yorkers should open up coal mines and take both products and profits to the East. What West Virginia wants is men who would locate here, and in spending their money in the development of the State become a part and parcel of ourselves. Col. Johnson pleaded for more railroads, and said that upon them more than upon any other one thing depends the future of the State.
The Committee on Emigration and Development, through ex-Senator Davis, its chairman, made a report, as follows:
"Your committee to devise a plan to promote systematically the object for which this convention is assembled, respectfully begs leave to report that after carefully considering every proposition laid before the committee, the following plan has been agree upon:
That this convention hereby resolves itself into the West Virginia Immigration and Development Association, said Association to have in each county a county auxiliary, to be organized as soon as practicable by the representatives of each county in this convention; the necessary steps to be taken to organize the counties not here represented.
"The officers of the West Virginia Immigration and development Association shall consist of a President, a Vice President from each Senatorial district, and a Secretary, five to constitute a quorum.
"The President and Vice Presidents shall serve without pay.
"The Board of Immigration shall establish an office and have a salaried Secretary and other necessary assistants under the immediate direction of the President acting for the Association and the Board.
"The Board of Immigration shall cause to be collected, printed and circulated such information as will be likely to bring to the State, capital and immigration, and, within the limits of the funds, do in its discretion such other things as may tend to promote the object of this Association.
"The Board of Immigration shall invite land holders to file in its office, free of cost, such information as intending purchasers should desire, to the end that buyers may be brought into communication with sellers, but said secretary shall not be directly or indirectly interested in any sale or purchase.
"The Board of Immigration shall meet in its office on the call of the President, who shall also call the Board for any time two weeks' notice, on the written request of three of its Vice Presidents.
"The expenditures of the Board shall be approved by five of its members. All payments shall be made by check drawn by the Secretary and endorsed by the President, who shall also be the Treasurer.
"The Board of Immigration shall prepare and publish an annual report of receipts and expenditures, and of its general work.
"That the committee consisting of the President and the thirteen Vice Presidents whose duty it shall be to look after the necessary and proper legislation.
Resolved, That Mr. C. B. Hart be made the President of the said West Virginia Immigration and Development Association.
Resolved, That the delegates present from each Senatorial District, nominate a Vice President to be a member of each Association.
H. G. Davis,
The Committee on Finance made a report as follows:
"Resolved, That each county auxiliary take steps to raise funds, and that all sums collected be remitted to the President of the State Immigration and Development Association, to be appropriated and used under its direction.
"Resolved, That the President of this convention be requested to secure at once such voluntary contributions as members of this convention are willing now to make.
The society here went into an election of Vice-Presidents, as follows:
First Senatorial District - J. B. Taney, of Ohio.
Second - J. Ed. Watson, of Marion.
Third - Thomas Moore, of Jackson.
Fourth - W. F. Atkinson, of Wood.
Fifth - H. C. Flesher, of Jackson.
Sixth - A. M. Lane, of Cabell.
Seventh - B. H. Oxley, of Lincoln.
Eighth - John D. Crockett, of Summers.
Ninth - Dr. John P. Hale, of Kanawha.
Tenth - Geo. M. Whitescarver, of Taylor.
Eleventh - W. G. Brown, of Preston.
Twelfth - John A. Robinson, of Mineral.
Thirteenth - B. C. Washington, of Jefferson.
The Committee on Resolutions, through its chairman, then reported the following:
To the President and Members of the West Virginia Immigration Convention:
Gentlemen: - At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the State Fair Association hereby agrees to set aside a building on our grounds, 40 x 120 feet in dimensions, and designate it as Exposition Hall, for use in making a display of the agricultural and mineral resources of the State, its manufacturers, timber, and all other classes of products, representing its progress and industries, such display to be arranged by counties.
We recommend that each County Court appoint one commissioner for the purpose of gathering such specimens of agricultural products, minerals, timber, etc., and that such commissioners forward the same, accompanying it, if possible, to Wheeling, that the display may be properly arranged under their personal supervision; and also that the counties may be represented at the Fair by some one competent to give statistics and general information to visitors. But if county commissioners cannot come personally, the exhibit should be forwarded to Wheeling where it will receive proper attention and be placed on exhibition in charge of a special superin[ten]dent.
John H. Hobbs,
The committee recommended that the convention approve of this proposition from the Fair association, and authorize and recommend the action sought to be taken, and this was adopted unanimously.
An attempt was made to get a further report from the Committee on Resolutions, but nothing seemed to be ready, and the Society turned its attention to raising money. The following contributions were made:
|S. B. Elkins||100|
|Town of Morgantown||25|
|Chamber of Commerce of Wheeling||100|
|City of Charleston||100|
|Town of Grafton||50|
|A. W. Campbell||5|
|Robert H. Browse||25|
|City of Wheeling||100|
The above handsome total having been reached, a motion was made to take up a collection, and a committee being appointed, a tour of the hall was made, and the sum of $7.45 was netted, making to total, $2,657.45.
At this point, Mr. M[a]cCorkle, of Kanawha, moved that the next meeting of the Society be held at Charleston, on January 25, 1889. Adopted.
The Committee on Resolutions then submitted the following:
"Resolved, that out public school system should be further developed by encouraging the establishment of a series of secondary, or high schools, so that our young men and young women may have the facilities for securing a higher education than can be obtained in the primary and grammar schools, and such as will prepare them for better work as teachers and for availing themselves of the benefits of the Normal schools, colleges and the State University."
This resolution war strongly advocated by President E. M. Turner, of the State University, and it was adopted.
Major Alderson said he hoped the convention would not adjourn without providing for a creditable display by the State at the Cincinnati exposition. He made an earnest plea for this, and produced a very favorable impression.
At the conclusion of his remarks Mr. John O. Pendleton moved that a committee of vie be appointed to take the matter into consideration.
Mr. Hermann moved, as a substitute, that the honorary commissioner from this State - Gov. Wilson - act in conjunction with the society in this particular.
The Governor was called upon for information, and responded by making a statement of what had been done and what was hoped to be accomplished.
The substitute for the resolution by Mr. Pendleton was then adopted.
A motion by Mr. Martin, authorizing the Vice Presidents to fill vacancies in their own number, or in the office of President, was adopted.
The following was adopted:
Resolved, That this Convention appreciates the interest manifested by the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Wheeling in the development of the resources of this State, and thanks the Chamber of Commerce, Committee of Reception and citizens generally for their courtesy and kindness and complete arrangements for the reception and comfort of the delegates.
This concluded the business of the Society, and at 11:20 the society adjourned sine die.
[This conclusion of the session last night, of course, renders nil the remarks of the speakers in the early portion of the evening session regarding a meeting of the Committee on Resolutions at nine o'clock this morning, and the statement of a like nature, made upon the supposition that there would be a session of the body to-day.]
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